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Old 12-17-2015   #1
Jhit's Avatar
Fort Collins, Chico Ca, brevard nc, California
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 37
American River - best company to work for?

i guided on the poudre for 6 years. I have now relocated and am wondering what company is the best company to work for on the American River. Any insights appreciated and wise ass remarks as well. Not really looking for the party company, more of the got there stuff together company. i hear its boat to boat, but the pay is nice and tips are stout. thanks. Ill be checking out mountain buzzes step sister as well.

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Old 12-17-2015   #2
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,042
...and God knows there are some wise ass remarks we will come up with...

" I wish I were a headlight, on a North bound train..."
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Old 12-17-2015   #3
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 332
Wilderness adventures would be worth a look. They do the MFA, Upper K, Burnt ranch. I don't think they do much on the SF which is the river of
Rubber in the summer, but really fun at high water in the winter.
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Old 12-17-2015   #4
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
I think you should call each company and ask them for an employee reference - someone that has guided there for a few years - to talk to. Ask about equipment, pay, reliable owners, scheduling, etc. Then, find out a competitive wage and go shopping for it. If you've been guiding for six seasons you would be an asset - make them fight for you!

Who do you guide for on the Poudre?
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Old 12-17-2015   #5
Northern California, California
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 16
So, WA no longer exists. Working on the American is reliable work and a good time, but gets to be a grind. It's where a lot of people go to cut their teeth, and there's a lot of turnover like anywhere else, so you always end up holding hands. In the spring, you can work the NF, but it's a short season and you probably won't be first in line for work. Due to the drought, the last time I worked a commercial trip on the NF was 2012. And then there's the MF and SF all summer long, May to October. You can work 5-6 days a week if you want to. The SF is a good time over 4k, hoping we're actually going to have some runoff this year.

Basically, you can choose between industrial rafting for a company pushing big numbers (team downstream) or work for a smaller company that's a little more laid back but may have less work. That being said, it's super easy to rent-a-guide around town. If you have preference, I can pm you some suggestions.
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Old 12-17-2015   #6
NIMBY, Oregon
Paddling Since: Womb
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 97
I will add a little to the above statement. With 6 years under your belt, I suggest you play the experience card pretty heavily if you're not afraid of pushing your comfort zone. With the right company and good snow pack, you could work overnights on the Tuolumne in your first season. I had 10+ lower T overnights during the season I spent there with one more year experience then you. That was one of the last good water years, 07-08ish. Another fun run is the Merced... a great run in the area that hasn't seen a good flow in a while like the T and NF American. The Merced @4500 is an absolute riot and the same can be said for the T up to around 10k. Don't forget the Yuba and my personal favorite day off was jumping in a Cherry Creek safety boat...

FYI, beware of the MFA ponds. The section goes... Five sweet rapids, 27 ponds, sweet rapid, Huck the Chuck, three sweet rapids, shuttle, done/unloaded by 3pm. After a couple trips in August heat, those ponds start to become brutal. Get through the ponds before the afternoon winds or it gets worse.
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Old 12-17-2015   #7
Northern California, California
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 16
The T is where it's at- steady work, small trips, and it will kick your ass under 1k and over 3k- but a lot of times getting work is more about opportunity and timing than experience. Right now there's only 4 outfitters left, and not a lot of turnover. It's not impossible, just difficult. If you know someone here who can vouch for you and knows other people here, that's a big step in the right direction.
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Old 12-20-2015   #8
Jhit's Avatar
Fort Collins, Chico Ca, brevard nc, California
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 37
Hey guys thanks for all the well thought out responses. Gave me a lot to consider. I worked for MWD from 2004 to 2010 or so. Missed the big years.
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Old 12-20-2015   #9
WillCarson's Avatar
Ashland, Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 95
Wilderness Adventures was split up in 2013 and their American operation now runs under the name Rise Up River Trips (Rise Up River Trips | American River, Premier Whitewater Experinces).

We (Indigo Creek Outfitters) bought their Upper Klamath operation.

Will Volpert
Indigo Creek Outfitters
Ashland, Oregon
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